Will continued snowfall and blustery bone chilling winter days hang around for another six long weeks; or will Pennsylvania’s own furry marmot, lovingly known as Phil the groundhog, say otherwise with his fluffy little shadow on February 2nd? Each and every year Pennsylvanians, along with the majority of the world wait with apprehension to see what Phil will predict for the long awaited spring season, or a lack thereof on the state’s traditional Groundhog Day where the rascally marmot shows off his furry dark side. As for the groundhog’s accuracy, Phil followers maintain that his predictions are 100 percent accurate; however the U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) has estimated that Phil is only correct about 40 percent of the time.
Punxsutawney Phil is hands down the most famous resident in the borough of Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, and he will inadvertently emerge from his burrow at Gobbler’s Knob on February 2, 2011, where 20,000 people will anxiously await his arrival. Millions more will be watching via television in hopes of some good news from the furry historical figure. Legend has it that if Phil sees his shadow, we can reasonably expect six more weeks of winter, and a lack of a shadow indicates an early spring.
The tradition of Groundhog Day in Pennsylvania got its humble beginnings in 1887 when a group of groundhog hunters from Punxsutawney aptly named themselves “The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.” One prominent member of this elite club was an editor of Punxsutawney’s local newspaper. Using his resources, he proclaimed Punxsutawney Phil, the local groundhog, to be the one and only weather prognosticating groundhog. Groundhog Day, and Phil’s fame quickly spread. Soon newspapers from all around the globe began to report his Gobbler’s Knob prediction. However, Groundhog Day is celebrated all over the United States and Canada.
Pennsylvania has many famous attractions and customs that easily draw the tourists in by the millions, and it has some strange customs, and a few badges under its belt as well. This year, during a well known custom, Pennsylvania will proudly unveil its fourth badge, the “PA Groundhog Day” Foursquare Badge on 2/2/2011. The first three badges involve customs, eateries, and 200 tourist attractions within the state. The four badges include PA Shooflyer, PA Retail Polka, and PA 4 Score & 7. The details of the badges, and other cool Pennsylvania news and traditions can be checked out at: http://groundhog.org/
Candlemas, the early Christian holiday of blessing and distributing candles is held on February 2nd, The Roman legions taught this tradition to the German immigrants who later brought the tradition of Candlemas to Pennsylvania. It was concluded that if the sun made an appearance on February 2nd, a hedgehog would cast his shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of bad weather, also known as a “Second Winter”. http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/common/candlemas
Pennsylvania not only has one famous groundhog, but a second one has emergered in the spotlight in recent years. Gus the Groundhog is the new spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Lottery Instant Games. Gus follows closely behind Phil when it comes to popular groundhogs hailing from Pennsylvania. Fun facts about Gus are that he has been featured in more then 50 television commercials since 2004, and he loves to promote buying scratch tickets, and he likes to read, relax, and scratch.